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Naming a Business: Tell Your Story

Sheree BurlingtonComment

I am a story teller. I find comfort in the steady cadence of a story well told, the way life and love and loss are woven out of shapes and sounds. My life is full of stories. Yours is too.

Your business name has a story behind it, even if it's named after you. Who you are, who you love, what makes you laugh, why you chose self employment over punching a time clock - yours is a story that your customers want to hear. Give them a reason to choose you over anyone else - show them your heart, your hands at work, your process and mistakes. Tell them your story.

Naming a Business: Tell Your Story - Wing+Tree Creative Business Blog

Here is mine: This is my baby brother Russell. He was five years old in the fall of 1961 when we moved to our new house. As he and our 26 year old mom stood in the back yard exchanging I love yous, Rusty reached for the biggest, tallest love he could see, lifted his hands to the sky and cried "Oh mummy - I love you as much as the trees!" In the 50+ years that have passed since that autumn day, the word Trees as an expression of love has made its way into every card & letter, every moment of tenderness, every goodbye. This tree story has been told and retold so many times that it is an integral part of our family history.

                                                                                   In  2011, I bought 9 metal channel letters at a local consignment store. Four consonants. C-C-R-T. Five vowels. E-E-E-E-I. They didn't seem to have much to say and spent the first year scattered around our studio. When my new desk was installed, I dusted them off and arranged them randomly across the top of the wall cabinets.

Months later, I looked at that odd assemblage and broke into a wide smile. Hidden among the gibberish was the name my little niece Taylor called me - REE. And so REE it was, until the day the letter T finally caught my attention. I laughed out loud, called it serendipity and added another chapter to my story.

This is my baby boy, Neal. He was five years old in the summer of 1998 when we moved to our new house. Surrounded by tall trees that waved and danced in the wind, our woods were alive with wild life and bird song. My favorite was the Chickadee. This little black and white bird has been a part of my memories since I was a tiny girl.

Each time we heard its song my mother would feign surprise, look around and whisper "Listen! That's your bird! Do you hear it?" She'd mimic its three note call - one high note followed by two repeating lower notes - "Where's Sheree? Where's Sheree?" She'd hold me in her arms as I looked around in awe, never seeing that bird but knowing that its call was only for me. It was my bird.

When Neal was born, that little bird sang a new song. Like my mother, I held him in my arms, looked up at the trees and exclaimed "Listen! Do you hear that? That's your bird!" And I'd repeat his name in that same three note call - "Neal Michael, Neal Michael." It was his bird.

At 18, Neal was a 6'-4", 230 pound man. I remember the day he poked his head in the kitchen door and yelled "Mom, Listen! That's my bird!" Outside the window, our bird sang our songs. I stood next to my giant boy/man, each of us smiling, warmed by our childhood memories. And I saw it so clearly - Neal singing that three note song as he passed on his bird.

Neal died in a  motorcycle street racing accident on August 20th, 2012. He was 19. That winter, after our first real snow, I went to check on his grave. The roads leading to his place beneath the pines went from plowed to tire tracks to virgin snow. There was no place or way to turn around so I continued on. An hour later, as I stood beside my hopelessly stuck car, I heard the sweet, familiar song of Neal's bird. His body may be gone, but his spirit is always with me. He is my angel and it soothes me to imagine him tearing up the skies on strong, wide wings. 

Choosing a name for your business is a process. You'll turn away hundreds of possibilities before the right one presents itself. When it does, you'll know. Saying no leads you closer to yes - to the right meaning, the right sound, shape, story. For me, yes began with a reminder from the universe. My new business name and tag line speaks to house and home - perfect for my new line of home decor and art prints. It's easy to pronounce and remember, looks good in print and has a meaningful story behind it. It makes me happy.  

Please Marry My Brother - 2nd Request

Sheree Burlington13 Comments

I tried this a couple of months ago with no success, but that was before I had such a huge following. Now that I have six followers, I'm confident that we'll marry my brother off before he stops producing sperm. It doesn't matter that the two followers I know are way too young and the four I don't are married to other men. Time and trouble will cure that. Besides, you've got people.

This is my brother, Russell. He's 51 and a Leo. Russ is a six foot four, 190 pound hunk of burnin' love. He's for sale. Before I tell you why you or someone you know should marry him, you should know that I used to hate his guts.

Russell is the middle child. You know - the lost child? Not the oldest - the experimental child. Not the youngest - the we're worn out, just do what you want child. According to him, he was the Angel Child, his position safely insulating him from my sneaky lies & the biting tongue of our baby sister, Dina. He was the only one of three who never broke a rule or defied my parents. Lying dog.

RussAngel.jpg

From the beginning, he had them fooled. He'd stand there, all blond& blue eyed, looking up at them, blink, blink, blinking. They'd tousle his curly mop, laugh and shake their heads with wonder & delight. Then they'd leave me alone with him. The moment they turned their backs, he'd narrow those wide blue eyes and turn them on me.

The worst of it took place when I was too young to know about murder as a problem solver. Had I known, his last day on earth would have been the day he chased me from room to room for over an hour, screeching Mama! Dadda! with an Italian accent. I had to lock myself in a closet to get away from him. Fricken dillhole.

Even the most evil genius can't ride under the radar forever. They trip up. Get sloppy. Make mistakes. Like the time he left a "this car climbed Mount Washington" bumper sticker on the back seat of my parents brand new car. The one he was totally forbidden to drive. Blond, blinkie Angel Boy gets a slap on the wrist. Piss me off. 

Oh! And when he comes home with a HICKEY on his neck the size of a fricken palmetto bug and my father nudges him *wink* wink* with his elbow? You know what I got for a hickey half that size? Grounded! For TWO WEEKS. Asshole.

OK. So. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Russell. My single brother...Screw him. Let him find his own date. I'm all pissed off all over again and have nothing nice to say about him. Jerk.

Do I Have To Touch It?

Sheree Burlington3 Comments

Thanksgiving, 2000. I'm married and living with my new husband, his son and mine. The whole gang is coming over at 2 pm. A week earlier, Dad stopped by with a huge frozen turkey and stuck it in my refrigerator. We have an arrangement. He cooks. I clean.

It's 7:15 am. I've just finished washing the floors, cleaning the bathroom, ironing the table cloth. The phone rings. It's dad. He's still making pies and won't be over until later. Will I put the turkey in the oven?

Crap. I've never done this. I don't want to do it now. "Do I have to touch it?" I ask. Jesus Christ, he mutters. Of course you have to touch it. Just take the god-dammed thing out of the wrapper, pull out the gizzards, rinse it out, put it in the pan...He drones on. I'm not listening. I'm on my knees in front of the sink base, searching for my rubber gloves. No fricken way am I touching that thing with my hands.

I slip them on. Open the refrigerator door. It's sitting in a pink puddle on the lower shelf. Plink. Plink. Bacteria laden droplets slide across my kitchen floor. I dial the phone. What do you mean inside? Inside the turkey? Je-sus H. I unclamp the legs, no easy task. Reach inside its neck. Waaait a minute. This is not the neck. Stick my yellow rubber hands up its butt. Fricken great. Whatever is stuffed in there - it's still frozen. I fricken hate this. I am so going Veg.

My turkey is actually is a success. The whole family is ga ga over the fact that I actually cooked a turkey. If I don't think about its rubbery, pink pimpled skin and its head up its ass, I find that it tastes pretty good. They all get huge mileage out of the rubber glove thing. "Do I have to touch it?" has become the quote of the day. Consensus is that next year, I should have more fashionable cooking accessories - mayhaps something with leopard cuffs?

They laugh because not one of them has ever spent four hours sitting on a toilet, vomiting into a trash can after eating bad chicken. Four hours of laying on the bathroom floor, alternating between sweating and freezing. Four hours of wishing I would hurry up and die already.

Eight years have passed. My penance for refusing to ever touch one of those foul creatures again: Hours at the sink, wearing rubber gloves, while the rest of them are passed out in the living room. I'm full. I'm happy. I'm cleaning.

No Hogging The Couch

Sheree BurlingtonComment

This couch represents my life. That's me, in the middle. I am surrounded by people and things that I need and care deeply about. There are a lot of things missing from this couch - A social life. Relaxation. Spirituality, A creative outlet that doesn't involve work. Inspiration to get my ass off the couch & into some regular exercise.

This is not whining. Without exception, everyone has been invited. For the most part, we've worked out who sits where and when. Peace requires the complete cooperation of everyone involved. It's not always peaceful. We all need to stretch our legs.

So, in lieu of reading or yoga or walking, I grab my moments on the computer. I fricken LOVE the Internet. I cannot imagine life without it. I find the coolest people doing the coolest things and I don't even have to get up. Most of them live lives just like mine - on a couch that's aging, sags in the middle and is the home and host of their top-shelf people.

Every once in a while I realize that I am one of those people doing cool things. I am a woman on a mission. I keep warning the gang that things may get a bit more crowded. We're going to need a bigger couch.

On Quiet And Empty Things

Sheree BurlingtonComment

These are things that remind me of my dad: His chair, its back cushion curved like his, its seat shaped by the length of his legs; every morning at 5:30 when I came downstairs, I’d find him in it – TV on, cat in his lap, coffee mug in hand. His truck, quiet and dusty in the dark garage; I drove it a couple of weeks ago. When I turned the key, Willie Nelson played on the CD. The yard, winter leaves still gathered in its corners like the snowdrifts that covered them not long ago.

I’ve grown accustomed to the empty chair, dark and alone in the half light of the morning – the locked garage door – the wild tangles of the yard. So this morning, as I stood in front of his closet and drew my hand across the sleeves of his shirts, I was not prepared. I was not prepared to stare into his empty shoes and feel the huge space he left behind. I miss him.

Please Marry My Brother

Sheree Burlington5 Comments

This is my brother, Russell. He's 6' 4" and around 210 lbs. He turned 50 on August 13, which makes him a Leo - fire sign - strong willed, opinionated, bossy, charming. He's handsome, wicked funny, a gifted musician and chronically single. While there is nothing actually wrong with him, he does work weird hours & often has to travel to make a living. The last time I counted, he had something like four (five?) cars and seven motorcycles. This alone may explain why he has never married. Who wants to park a block away?

This is a man who can fix just about anything - ok, your car or motorcycle but maybe not your broken furniture. He will make you laugh every day. He might cook you hot dogs or spaghetti but you'll have get the dishes out of the sink first. You'll need to seriously clean his bathroom. He'll write you a song and sing it to you and it will be poetic and romantic. You won't want to mess with his garage. I call it Man Land. And even though he tortured me as a child and I hated his guts, I'm very fond of him now so you'll have to share him. Our family is crazy. You'll need to be, too.